Holocaust: Angela Merkel visits Auschwitz for first time

Media captionAngela Merkel joined the Jewish community for a vigil after a shooting in October

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit Auschwitz concentration camp on Friday, her first trip to the site.

The Nazi regime murdered an estimated 1.1 million people at Auschwitz-Birkenau – the vast majority of whom were Jewish.

Mrs Merkel will take part in a ceremony alongside a camp survivor and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

Her visit comes amid a rise in German anti-Semitism and ahead of the 75th anniversary of the camp’s liberation.

Less than two months ago, a 40-year-old woman and 20-year-old man were shot dead outside a synagogue in eastern Germany. A 27-year-old man confessed and admitted having a far-right, anti-Semitic motive for the shooting.

More than six million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, the Nazi campaign to destroy Europe’s Jewish population.

The gas chambers and crematoria of Auschwitz-Birkenau were built near the main Auschwitz concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.

Why is Merkel visiting now?

Major events are planned for the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet troops on 27 January.

But Mrs Merkel has chosen to go to the site now. She was invited to attend the 10th anniversary of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation, a group that tries to preserve the camp as a memorial and a warning for future…

Continue Reading This Article At BBC News

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